February 12, 2013
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Agency Update
Ironwood goes old-school with focus on long term
Instead of focusing on a rare disease and trying to make itself an attractive buyout target as many other biopharmaceutical companies are doing, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals is staffing up and marketing a drug with blockbuster potential. Ironwood and its partner, Forest Laboratories, have skipped television ads in favor of an Internet search engine optimization strategy and are talking with payers to ensure reimbursement and low patient copays. Xconomy/Boston (2/6)
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Study: Agencies see digital overtaking print, broadcast spending
A third of ad agencies expect to spend more on digital campaigns than on conventional media within the next three years, according to a Strata survey. "New advertising mediums are evolving at an unprecedented pace, and agencies are constantly trying to figure out how to get the best return on investment for their campaigns," said Strata President and CEO John Shelton. MediaPost Communications/Online Media Daily (2/5)
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Trends, Research & Stats
Researchers use Twitter to try to catch colds
Researchers are monitoring Twitter chatter in order to spot cold and flu outbreaks. The technology may never be as reliable or specific as hospital admissions data, but it allows researchers to tap a larger pool of potential sufferers, experts say. "Twitter is growing up, evolving from a simple message system into a public health research tool," Ellen Beck writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Social Media (2/11)
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Consumers see inverse relationship between drug price and value
Many consumers believe that the less expensive a drug is, the more likely they are to need it, and vice versa, a survey published in the Journal of Consumer Research found. Consumers expect drugs for serious illnesses to be affordable and believe that drugs are priced based on need, the study authors said. Pharmalot.com/Pharma Blog (2/6), Medical Marketing & Media (2/6)
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Interactive Ads & Technology
Mobile advertising will soon be mandatory, Google says
Google will soon begin requiring that all AdWords clients buy mobile advertising space, even if they only want to reach desktop-computer users. The "enhanced campaigns" will be rolled out to all AdWords users by mid-2013 and could drive up the overall price for mobile ad units, industry executives said. Separately, Google on Wednesday announced that it will acquire e-commerce service provider Channel Intelligence for $125 million as it looks to improve its Google Shopping service. The Wall Street Journal (2/6), The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/Bits blog (2/6)
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Study: Docs recommend mobile apps to patients
Doctors are using mobile health applications to access medication data at the point of care and ensure that the drugs they prescribe won't hurt patients, according to a study by Epocrates. The survey also found that more than 40% of doctors are recommending mobile apps to patients, often for patient education, healthy lifestyle tools and chronic disease management. Healthcare IT News (2/4)
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Health group, firms start SMS system for prostate cancer patients
The Prostate Cancer Foundation, Mobile Commons and Sanofi unveiled a text messaging system called Prost8Care to aid patients with prostate cancer as they cope with the advanced stages of the disease. The program sends patients text messages with health tips, such as ways to manage side effects of chemotherapy. MobiHealthNews.com (2/6)
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Experts see massive public health potential in Facebook
Although concerns about privacy and professionalism have in the past limited physicians' use of social media to reach patients, that is starting to change. Health care providers, public health officials and researchers increasingly see Facebook as a useful tool for disseminating information, tracking disease and more, says Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute. Wired.com (2/5)
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Policy Pulse
HHS encourages e-patients
HHS announced plans to create a broad shift to a less hierarchical health care system and give patients and families a greater role in their own care. A new initiative aims to expand patients' access to electronic health records, mobile health applications and devices, and secure electronic messaging between patients and providers, according to an article published in the journal Health Affairs. "Engaged patients ... are more likely than others to participate in preventive and healthy practices, self-manage their conditions and achieve better outcomes," said Farzad Mostashari, the national coordinator for health IT at HHS. Politico (Washington, D.C.) (2/11)
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Self-regulation is working, ad networks say
Lawmakers are skeptical about ad networks' willingness to take responsibility for their own behavior -- but the Network Advertising Initiative hopes to change that. It has signed up about 100 industry players, including Google, AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo, for a rigorous regulatory program requiring continuous review of companies' data collection, disclosures and opt-out policies. "What policymakers call for is self-regulation with teeth, enforcement and accountability. This is real and very tangible," says Executive Director Marc Groman. Adweek (2/7)
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Coalition News
New details emerge as dust settles on Sunshine final rule
Now that the Sunshine Act final rule is published and most have had a chance to peruse its provisions, it is time to look more closely at the rule’s implications: what it means to the industry from a practical standpoint, how it may affect industry’s reputation, and what it will cost. Medical Marketing & Media, Policy and Medicine, and “The Pink Sheet” recently posted articles that address those important issues. Read more.
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Featured Press Releases
 
Closing the Deal
The leading digital doctors are really pushing the envelope on this. But it’s just getting started."
-- Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, discussing the intersection of health care and Facebook on Wired.com
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